Thursday, March 30, 2006

Herman Cain and the Deficit

Hot on the heels of Bruce Bartletts admission that cutting tax rates does not automatically lead to more revenue is Herman Cain who says, well, that cutting tax rates does automatically lead to more revenue.
The other lie liberals perpetually tell is that low tax rates cause budget deficits. History proves just the opposite – that cuts in income, capital gains and dividends tax rates increase the amount of federal revenues available for Congress to spend. The only thing that can cause a budget deficit is when Congress spends in excess of available revenues, and the president at the time signs off on that spending. Members of Congress who blame tax cuts for causing deficits might as well argue that gun manufacturers cause homicides, fast food restaurants cause obesity and cigarette makers cause lung cancer. Surely no one would agree with that flawed logic.
A little bit of a slight of hand here. Cain distracts you from noting the lack of revenues by pointing to how much we spend. I'm not going to disagree that the Republicans in Congress are spending too much. But surely Americans are sharp enough to note that there are two sides to this equation. If we are going to return to the fiscal discipline and low deficits of the Clinton Era, we will have to cut spending and increase revenue. And to pretend you can get around that (while calling your political enemies liars, no less), well, it strikes me as irresponsible.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Messed up Republicans

Hot on the heels of Zirkle's Deadbeat Dad Border Security Plan, we have another potential congressional Republican congress person acting weird.

Howard Kaloogian (R) has posted a picture at his website which he claims shows how peaceful Iraq is. Given that, it's unfortunate that the picture was actually of Turkey. But it was and helpful people at Daily Kos caught it.

He's since admitted his mistake, and blamed it on his web guru.

I kind of buy that. This is such a pathetic lie, if intended as such, that it boggles the mind. It makes more sense that this was a mistake. Initially I failed to believe this story just because of the goofiness factor.

Hey doesn't Zirkle and Kaloogian sound like a new age combo?

The Laffer Curve

I don't mention the Laffer Curve very much, despite it giving me the inspiration to my own brand of economics (Empty Wallet Economics). Still Bruce Bartlett points out the obvious about the Laffer curve in his latest article, so it's worth while to remind you what it says.

The Laffer Curve suggests that if you completely fail to tax the people, the government will have no money. And if you tax the people at 100% you will similarly have no money (because the economy will collapse). As you approach the 100% tax rate, in theory, people have less and less desire to produce wealth, so the tax revenues will drop. At some points, high on the curve, you would actually make more money by cutting taxes.

Republicans want to cut taxes (and government services) anyway, so they latched onto this as a good justification for what they already wanted to do. And they've kept this thinking right up to the present day.

Well Bruce Bartlett says, accurately, the argument may no longer apply.
However, when President Bush took office, the top rate on dividends was down to 39.6 percent, and the rate on long-term capital gains was just 20 percent -- far below the rates Ronald Reagan inherited. It is very implausible that these rates were in the "prohibitive" range of the Laffer curve, such that a rate reduction would raise revenue.

But even if we grant the theory, how likely is it that the recent rise in revenue owes anything to this effect? Again, not much.

The fact is that it is only in very exceptional circumstances that there would even be the possibility of a tax cut that would so stimulate growth that it would pay for itself. Even the Bush Administration admits this.
There it is. You can't cut taxes (or maintain the Bush Tax Cuts) and assume that you'll be pulling in more money. Where the tax rates are now, I assume it would be quite the opposite.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Attention all of you men who have had children out of wedlock with 20 or more woman

Republican congressional candidate Tony Zirkle is coming after you.

Apparently if you have had children out of wedlock with 20 or more woman, Mr. Zirkle feels you would be qualified to guard our borders. He wants to draft you and send you to America's southern border. There you will be issued a Dodge Durango, a rifle, and twenty gross army issue prophylactics.

OK that last sentence was a bit of a joke (and the least dirty of a long list of them). But the rest is accurate according to the South Bend Tribune.

The Value Voter's Contract with Congress

For those interested, here is a link to the Value Voter's Contract with Congress. The contract urges congress to pass laws (well that is what congress does), including the following;
? The Constitution Restoration Act to prohibit activist judges from ruling against acknowledgments of God (H.R. 1070, S.520),

? The Public Expression of Religion Act to prohibit activist judges from ordering taxpayers to pay lawyers who seek to erode our national relationship with God (H.R. 2679), and

? The Workplace Religious Freedom Act to promote religious accommodation in employment (H.R. 1445, S. 677).

. . . ? The Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act to raise awareness of the pain experienced by children before birth (S.51, H.R. 356)

. . . ? Legislation to restrict obscenity and pornography, and guard against its mis-stated protection under the First Amendment.
Anyway it's an interesting corrective to David Limbaugh's article from earlier today - it's helpful to remember that our friends on the religious right do have distinct political goals. They shouldn't be shocked if those goals are occasionally opposed.

The Muslim Menace

In case you had forgotten, we are at war with Islam . . . er, Militant Islam. And they are a greater threat than Communism or Nazism. I know that cause I read the title to Dennis Prager's latest article, "The Islamic threat is greater than German and Soviet threats were."
Only four types of individuals can deny the threat to civilization posed by the violence-supporting segment of Islam: the willfully naive, America-haters, Jew-haters and those afraid to confront evil.
Interesting. I wonder how many Mr. Prager would put in each box. I also wonder if I'm willfully naive, an America-Hater or afraid of confronting evil. I wonder if those who are willfully naive might also be afraid to confront evil. I mean maybe that plays into their willingness to be naive.

At any rate, I do recognize that Islamic terrorism is a threat, but I doubt that I recognize it to the level Dennis Prager requires. In reading his previous columns, I've gotten the impression that Prager, like many conservatives, assumes that if you don't support his and President Bush's particular responses to Islamic terrorism, you must not be opposed to it at all.

Persecution of Christians

I'm going to talk about a hard subject. The truth is that dominionist Christians in America are persecuted. You see their beliefs conflict with the long cherished belief in a separation of church state, and hence they are hemmed in. They would like to be running things, but that is impossible under our current system. So they are prevented from achieving their natural place in America and isn't that terrible?

But of course letting the Dominionists have their way is ultimately not a very appetizing prospect to the rest of us.

On the other hand, expressions of religious feeling in the public square have not been persecuted, despite David Limbaugh's claims to the contrary.
Do the God-mocking among us doubt the Clintons' sincerity and thus not perceive them to be a threat to their sacred church-state separation doctrine? Or could there be some other reason we don't see hysterical editorials when the power couple mention Jesus Christ, as when Hillary recently dragged Him and the Good Samaritan into the immigration debate?
I've been working on this post for two hours now and I keep forgetting to finish it. I guess that shows how interested I am in explaining how the problem isn't having religious beliefs. The problem is trying to impose your religious beliefs by force of law.

Monday, March 27, 2006

New Link

Hey all. Just added a new link to Florida News, a blog about Chinese Grape and Nut Agriculture.

Oh wait, it's really about Florida Politics. It's a good read, go check it out.

Waiting for an Apology

I think the right wing of this nation has been waiting for an apology for the 1960s since the 1960s. Until we Liberals admit how badly we screwed up in the 1960s (in their minds), we can't really be forgiven.

I expect that the left wing of this nation will be expecting an apology for the George W. Bush years and Iraq. And similarly I don't know if there will be any forgiveness until an apology is offered.

Attn: Hollywood

Please give us more shows about stealing stuff, like Heist. I watched the first episode on Saturday (TIVO), and it was quite good. So my suggestion to you is get rid of all lawyer shows in development and replace them with shows about people stealing stuff. Frankly you could probably use the same cast in most cases - just give a few of 'em tattoos or something.

To sum up. More shows about stealing. That is all.

Dangerous propaganda

I'd like to say at the beginning that I'm right. I mean my opinion is the correct opinion to have. If you don't share my opinion, it's likely that you haven't read enough of the right kind of sources. In my charitable way, I'm choosing to believe that if you disagree with me, it's because you are ignorant of the facts (rather than believing that you are willfully rejecting the correct answer out of some base motive, or that your brain fails to work properly, forcing you to come up with the wrong answer).

W. Thomas Smith Jr. at Townhall.com has written a column on propaganda, and, in a surprise move, it turns out he's against it (when it disagrees with him). In particular he's against dangerous propaganda, and he's got some examples he'd like to share with you. Examples from that hoary netherworld known as the Liberal Blog-O-Sphere. Tremble as you realize that some people believe that the theory that Russia smuggled out Iraq's nuclear program is "radical." Gasp in horror as Smith reveals that left wing newspapers occasionally characterize President Bush as "dull-witted" or "stupid."

Yawn with boredom as he slams into liberal bloggers with all the ferocity of a mildly annoyed titmouse.
Most of the worst forms of the dangerous kinds of propaganda can be found in underground publications. What makes those publications truly dangerous is that by virtue of the Internet, there is no limit to the size of their audience.
I have to say, I do like the theory that there is no limit to the size of my audience. Because it conflicts with my actual experience.

This is really kind of pathetic, when you think about it. Yeah the Blogs are a growing phenomenon and yeah they aren't always entirely responsible. But they are still a drop in the ocean compared to the propagandist possibilities inherent in Fox News, not to mention the rest of the mainstream media.

He does finally get around to the mainstream media at the end of his article. When is a Civil War not a Civil War? When it's a jar.

No, wait, that's another joke. When it's sectarian violence is the right answer apparently. He then reprints the comments of Captain Bill Roberts, spokesman for the Multi-National Force in Iraq who's job it is to put a positive spin on the news coming out of Iraq. Which he attempts to do.

His comments reminded me of some comments by Peter Daou I saw at Atrios yesterday.
You know, are there positive stories? Can't you find them?

You don't think that I haven't been to the U.S. military and the State Department and the embassy and asked them over and over again, let's see the good stories, show us some of the good things that are going on? Oh, sorry, we can't take to you that school project, because if you put that on TV, they're going to be attacked about, the teachers are going to be killed, the children might be victims of attack.

. . . Soldiers, their lives are occupied most of the time with security issues. Iraqi civilians' lives are taken up most of the time with security issues.

So how it is that security issues should not then dominate the media coverage coming out of here?
Good question.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

New Logo, New Quote!!!



Good morning all. : )

Well we updated the logo, and we updated the quote. And, finally, we updated the Quotes page.

Friday, March 24, 2006

This drives me nuts

These are comments from Andrew Sullivan, reacting to a poll by the Pew Foundation.
Most disturbing to me are the high numbers of self-decribed Christians favoring torture: only 26 percent of Catholics oppose it in all circumstances, while only 31 percent of white Protestants rule it out entirely. If you combine those Christians who think torture is either never or only rarely acceptable, you have 42 percent of Catholics and 49 percent of white Protestants. The comparable statistic of those who are decribed as "secular," which I presume means agnostic or atheist, is 57 percent opposition. In other words, if you are an American Christian, you are more likely to support torture than if you are an atheist or agnostic.
I don't know what to make of this, but I find it very depressing.

How V got Castrated Part 2. The Terrorist who Wasn't.

In the comic book V kills without compunction, seemingly assured of the rightness of his mission. In the movie V kills only indirectly, and is polite enough to warn people in the building he is about to blow up to slip out.

In the comic book V has some quite definite villainous traits. He's a dangerous person to be around. In the movie V is quite a nice person, given more to flowery and well meaning speeches more than nonsense doggeral and mad rantings.

It just goes to show that one graphic novels terrorists is another movies freedom fighter.

But, as referenced above, it neuters the point, doesn't it? If V is just your standard hero defeating an oppressive state, there's no real reason to ever question his actions. On the other hand if V is a terrorist and a hero, than you've set up an intellectual conflict worth thinking about.

It forces us to question what a terrorist is. Are there times when terrorist tactics are justified? In this case, the enemy is certainly villainous enough; does that justify V's actions?

But if V is a simple action hero, or even a complex action hero, the question doesn't arise. The movie V's tactics may be questionable at times, but they never stray into out right violence (and at that, the movie cheats by having the little bespectacled girl he gets killed show up in the crowd before his fireworks display).

The question of the comic book is when are terrorist tactics appropriate. That's a debate one could have for days. The movies question is when should you overthrow a fascist government. That's a debate one could have for minutes, if not seconds.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Top 17

I was in a four hour meeting today, and I am on the road. So I will write my continuing analysis of V for Vendetta in the morning. In the mean time, in said music, I made a CD to listen to on the drive back home. I am surprised at how generally positive it turned out. I did it quick, not really putting much attention to how it fit together. But apparently I am in a good mood, or, at least, in the mood to listen to upbeat songs.

1. Aphex Twin, "Polynominal-C"
2. Radiohead, "Everything in it's Right Place"
3. Underworld, "Two Months Off (Radio Edit)"
4. Beanfield, "The Season (Swag Remix)
5. Telepopmusik, "Dance Me"
6. Kaskade, "Still Still Still" - A Christmas song.
7. Mint Royale, "Don't Falter"
8. The Chemical Brothers, "Leave Home"
9. Self, "Shame"
10. BT, "The Revolution"
11. Orbital Featuring David Gray, "Illuminate (Short Version)"
12. Mr. Scruff, "Get a Move On (Radio Edit)"
13. Bjork, "Alarm Call (Potage du Jour)
14. New Order, "Fine Time (Silk Mix)"
15. Fatboy Slim, "Sunset (Bird of Prey)"
16. Shirley Bassey, "Easy Thing to Do (Nightmares on Wax Mix)"
17. 808 State, "Pacific 707"

Now Self's cover of Shame is upbeat sounding, but the words are downbeat ("It all seems so stupid it makes me want to give up, but why should I give up, when it all seems so stupid?". And I don't remember what Illuminate is supposed to be about. On the other hand the Underworld, Beanfield, Mint Royale, and Bjork tracks are very upbeat, and the Shirley Bassey and Kaskade tracks are also positive if a bit more peaceful about it.

How V got Castrated Part 1. The Stakes.

I went and saw "V for Vendetta" last night. I have also just reread the graphic novel. The movie is quite good. Has a great look, well played action sequences, and some very sharp dialogue. There were some changes to the movie, however, that I think neutered the points the Graphic novel was trying to make. In order to discuss them, however, I will, of necessity, reveal some of the mysteries of the movie. So if you haven't seen it yet, I advise you to go see it and then read this post.

This first change may seem minor, but it's significant enough in my mind. In the graphic novel, England is besieged by a nuclear winter. In the movie, evil fundamentalist conservatives let lose a disease in order to gain control. The change removes any real context in which the choice for freedom might be made.

You can have a debate over what sorts of measures might be necessary in the face of a real catastrophe. On the other hand, only a moral idiot could seriously grapple with the question of whether or not it would be acceptable to poison your own people in order to take control.

This question ties back to 9/11 naturally. Some believe that 9/11 was allowed to happen or caused by the Bush Administration. I find their arguments weak, but perhaps the makers of this movie put more stock in them. If the only real threat to America is the Bush administration than our course is clear.

On the other hand if international terrorism is a real problem (and, for the record, I believe it is), than the question becomes more complex. It's a matter of stakes. If there is no real danger, than turning off the "security" system is no problem. On the other hand if there is a real danger, than freedom becomes a risk. You have to decide how valuable you find freedom to be.

For the record I think freedom is valuable and worth fighting for. But I think it is foolish to cheapen freedom by suggesting it can come without price.

I'll write more this evening, as there is a larger problem with V's character, in my opinion.

Ann Coulter and Polls

Ann Coulter's latest column is on polls. When you are an ideologue you don't put much stock in polls for a couple of reasons.

First of all, you know what the right answer is. If 100% of the people select the wrong answer, it's still the wrong answer.

Secondly, the right answer is self evident. It seems so obvious to you what the right answer is, and it is difficult to believe that anybody sees things differently. So if a poll shows that a lot of people really do see it differently, well, is it easier to believe that the American people really got it wrong in such large numbers? Or is it easier to believe that the polls are faulty or dishonest or both?

Well in Ann's case it's easier to believer that the polls are just plain wrong. She does oversell her case a bit though.
liberals love to pretend public opinion is always in the process of shifting in their direction. They can't win elections -? Democrats have gotten a majority vote in a national election only two times since FDR was president (Lyndon Johnson in '64 and Jimmy Carter in '76).
I could have sworn we won more elections than that. But apparently an election doesn't count as a victory unless you get more than 50% of the vote.

Incidently, Ann has a new book coming out on June 6, 2006. It's so controversial they can't even tell us it's name yet. Gosh I can't wait.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I Don't Want to Surrender to the Terrorists

I'd just like to clear that up.

I would say that goes for most Liberals; we don't actually want Al-Qaeda to run the United States. I know you conservatives have a hard time accepting that, but I assure you it is true.

This is inspired by Ben Shapiro's latest article, in which he turns to his first love, Prognostication. He predicts what would happen in the unlikely event President Bush handed the Government over to Helen Thomas.

Apparently she and her Cabinet (including Michael Moore and Ted Turner) would nationalize Talk Radio and divert the war on terror budget into NPR. The upshot of this sort of malarky?
May 1, 2006, the city formerly known as WASHINGTON -- Today, President Thomas completed the handover of the Great Satan to the United Nations. After the six nuclear attacks of last month, and with the country in total chaos, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan offered to broker a peace treaty between the Great Satan and the glorious servants of Mohammed, peace be upon him.
I'm starting to doubt Mr. Shapiros powers of prognostication. Within three months of taking over, we will experience multiple nuclear detonations leading to the total collapse and capitulation of the United States? My Word! Think of where we would be if Kerry were in charge!

Yeah, I got some prognostication for you, Mr. Shapiro. After seeing the way your guy, President Bush, has mucked up the country, they are going to start thinking that maybe you conservative pundits aren't really all you are cracked up to be, and the Republican Party will return to its senses.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Seagoon: There. I've sawn off all four legs.
German 1: Strange. The first time I've known of a piano with four legs.
Eccles: Hey! I keep falling down!
More from the Goon Show.

Why Deficits are Bad

First concept to wrap your heads around - Credit is limited commodity. There is a limited amount to go around.

Credit is excess capital people have that they are willing to loan to others.

Let's imagine a town. We'll call it Fictionville, USA. In Fictionville, there are only two people, Bryant and Person A. Bryant has all the money in the town, a grand total of $10.00. Hooray for Bryant! Poor Person A wants to catch the Ferry to Smashville (a happening place if ever there was one). So he goes to Bryant and asks for money to ride the ferry.

Briefly let's consider how much the ferry ride is. If it's say $0.05, well Bryant might just give that money away. On the other hand if a Ferry Ride is $9.42, Person A might have to do some real convincing to get Bryant to pony up the dough. Person A would probably have to promise some sort of return in order to convince Bryant to give up that much money.

As it turns out the ferry ride costs a fiver, and Bryant expects back $6.00 at some later point.

The next week, the population of Fictionville increases by 50%, i.e. one more person moves in. This person is known as Person B, and like Person A, she wants to take the ferry into town. Bryant can't afford to give them both the loan, so there is a scarcity of credit. So they compete. Person A says, "Hey, I'll give you 7 dollars on Tuesday if you give me $5.00 today." Person B says, "Hey I'm the only female in the story so far. What a gyp! But I will give you $9.00 on Tuesday if you give me $5.00 today." So as the two compete for the scarce credit, Bryant comes out ahead.

Oh the third week of our little storyline, Bryant's luck takes a turn for the worse. In moves Person C, who, as it turns out, also has $10.00. So now the credit is less scarce, and Bryant and that lousy Person C (why did I ever write him into my story?), have to compete. Immediately Bryant can't get 9 bucks on his 5 spot anymore (unless he goes around to Person C and convinces him to create an oligarchy to keep credit rates high (but let's face it, Bryant just isn't that smart)). Now rather than having the borrowers compete, it's the loaners that have to compete.

On the fourth week, Government Joe moves in. Government Joe needs a lot of money - $10.00 a week. He goes to Bryant and Person C and says "Hey look, give me a fiver apiece and I'll promise you 10 bucks each on Tuesday. What is the upshot of this? Person A and Person B can't go to Smashville anymore.

This is the Micro-Economic scale, but the basic principles are the same on a Macro Economic Scale. There is existing in the world right now a limited amount of possible credit. As Government Joe sucks up more of the possible Credit, the remaining credit becomes more scarce and more valuable. So when you go to buy a home or a car or a robot, you have to pay more in interest. That's simple capitalism. As something becomes more scarce, it becomes more valuable and more expensive. As credit becomes more scarce you have to pay more interest to get it.

That's bad for the economy and that's bad for the American people. Getting a house, getting a car, getting a robot becomes just that much more difficult.

As credit becomes more valuable, creditors start looking those they are loaning money to over more carefully. In particular they try to figure out the odds that individuals will be able to pay off their debts. A guy who has one house and lives within his means is a good credit risk. A guy who owns five houses and three boats and doesn't make nearly enough money to hold those holdings is not as good a credit risk. So if you have a limited amount of credit to spead around, who do you want to give credit too?

Could that problem ever apply to the US as a whole? I mean could we face a day when other nations and individuals determine that the United States is not a good credit risk? I don't know, but I don't think you can rule it out as a possibility.

And that's why, in my opinion, Deficits are bad.

Top 22

I have over 987 CDs. I don't say that to boast (well maybe just a little), just to say that the feature of doing a Friday list of ten songs that pop up on my I-Pod isn't practical. I also don't have an I-Pod come to think of it.

So I don't do a Friday Random 10. Which is too bad because it would be cool. However I am preparing for a trip tomorrow, so I put together a CD of rock and rock-like songs that would be enjoyable to listen to on the open road. So I thought I would post a list of the songs. Here it is.

Magic Numbers, "Forever Lost"
Live, "I Alone"

Nirvana, "Heart Shaped Box"
Jefferson Airplane, "Crown of Creation"

The Psychedelic Furs, "All That Money Wants"
Toad the Wet Sprocket, "Fall Down"

Counting Crows, "Four Days"
The Byrds, "She Don't Care About Time (Version 1)"

Morrissey "Billy Budd"
Smashing Pumpkins, "Pennies"

Caribou, "Hello Hammerheads"
Belle and Sebastian, "Jonathan David"

Radiohead, "Let Down"
Tori Amos, "Talula"
Pearl Jam, "No Way"
Oasis, "Wonderwall"

Megan Slankard, "Give Life"
The New Radicals, "Jehovah Made this Whole Joint for You"

Tom Petty, "Love Is A Long Road"
R.E.M., "Hyena"

Bob Dylan, "If Not For You"
Foo Fighters, "Big Me"


Anyway that gives you an insight into some of the songs I like. There aren't many obscurities - Pennies was on the Smashing Pumpkins CD Single Zero.

I Got A Real Complaint

Cal Thomas' column for the week covers his frustration at the enormous deficit. If only the Republicans were in power so they could stop this runaway government spending.

Oh. Right.

Anyway he ends with an interesting paragraph that shows just how upset he is with the Bush/Frist reign.
Coolidge left the presidency with a surplus. So did Bill Clinton. That a Republican Congress and administration are engaging in such promiscuous spending is obscene. If voting in Democrats -who in the past engaged in deficit spending - punishes Republicans, little will change. What to do?

Maybe it's time for a strong third party, or failing that, another revolution.
Liberty! Equality! No wait, Not Equality! and Sound Fiscal Discipline! Yeah, I don't know how that will sound on the ramparts.

I like that Thomas is at least honest enough to admit that Clinton practiced sound fiscal discipline, but of course he's unwilling to answer why. Part of Clinton's success was his willingness to look at both sides of the equation, revenues and expenditures. Conservatoids only look at the expenditures side; assuming that the natural goal of the government is to get Revenues down to $0.00.

I like considering that fiscal sanity when I hear a Republican refer to their party as the party of Adults. This might also be a good time to reference my economic theory - Empty Wallet Economics.

At any rate, Republicans are upset with those they have placed in power, and there's nothing wrong with that (from a liberal point of view, anyway).

Monday, March 20, 2006

A Nice Article from the Mainstream Media

For those who haven't seen this there's a great article on the President's Rhetoric over at the CBS News website.
When the president starts a sentence with "some say" or offers up what "some in Washington" believe, as he is doing more often these days, a rhetorical retort almost assuredly follows.

The device usually is code for Democrats or other White House opponents. In describing what they advocate, Mr. Bush often omits an important nuance or substitutes an extreme stance that bears little resemblance to their actual position.

He typically then says he "strongly disagrees," conveniently knocking down a straw man of his own making.
Fox News has mastered these techniques, so it's nice that the President has learned them as well.

What Does the Republican Party Owe President Bush?

President Bush is speaking in Cleveland, Ohio today. Salon's War Room is reporting that the State's prominent Republicans are all skipping the speech, largely due to "prior commitments." What ever happened to showing respect for the President?

Robert Novak has an article out about this very phenomenon. Apparently the species Republicanus Politicious feels little to no requirement to be loyal to the President when said loyalty will hurt them politically. This is not very surprising (at least not to me, and probably not to you). But it shocking to those who are still loyal to President Bush.

Truthfully I don't think it's all that shocking to Novak either, although he does make a feeble effort to push his party back to the warm embrace of the President.
One of the president's top political operatives is telling the party's members of Congress that they should support Bush, not out of loyalty but for self-preservation. In 1952, Democrats in Congress, accustomed to more than 20 years in power, thought they could survive by separating themselves from Truman. Instead, Republicans swept the November elections, which might be an object lesson about abandonment of their president.
I wonder who that "top political operative" could be?

I think though that the analogy is flawed. Or to put it another way, then as now, it is hard to argue that sticking close to the President would have made a huge difference. In 1952, the Democrats were going to get walloped over the Red Scare fury and what not. In 2006, the Republicans are going to have to face up to their support of an unpopular war. Running back to the President wouldn't have and won't change that problem.

It's all in the Mind You Know

Seagoon: What did this attacker look like?
William: I dunno, I dunno, I didn't see him, mate.
Seagoon: I see. And would you recognise him if you didn't see him again?
William: Straight away! Although you know, sir, I must admit, me eyes ain't what they used to be.
Seagoon: No?
William: No, they used to be me ears.
From the Goon Show, which has a fan site here.

Are You Being Served?

Star Parker's latest article is about how the Black Conservative Evangelical community isn't being served by this White House. You see they wanted one thing - no more talk of Gay Marriage. And they haven't gotten their way. There hasn't been a constitutional amendment declaring Marriage between a Man and a Woman. President Bush hasn't issued an executive order to that effect either. So Black Conservative Evangelicals have lost faith in President Bush.
The marriage agenda has been a focal point for mobilizing this community over recent years. It certainly influenced the black vote in the 2004 elections.

The percentage of blacks voting for George Bush almost doubled to 13 percent. In the swing state of Ohio, where a marriage initiative was on the state ballot, the black vote for Bush doubled from 8 percent to 16 percent.

Yet after the elections a kind of amnesia seemed to sweep across Washington, with our elected officials having complete memory lapses regarding what motivated many who cast votes for them.
I think Ms. Parker and the Black Conservative Evangelical community may be missing two key points (assuming Ms. Parkers analysis is complete and accurate).

1. This is a difficult proposal to pass and can't be cone in an instant.

2. They may prefer to have the issue to rally the base. This is after all the issue that got Blacks to vote for President Bush - they solve this problem, how are the going to accomplish that feat again.

I will say this points to an over arching problem the Republicans are going to face. They've had the presidency for 5 years, they've had the house since the 2002 elections. Why haven't they accomplished more? And it's not just the religious conservatives who are going to ask this question. Other types will ask why we haven't phased out the income tax system or gotten rid of Social Security (by "saving it").

All of which is good for Democrats. If the Republican Base is depressed, they won't fight so hard, won't donate so much and so on and so forth. I don't know if we will pick up many hard-core Republican votes (actually I do know. We won't), but it will make them a little weaker.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

New Logo, New Quote!!!



Hi all!!!

Updating out logo and quote.

Hope you are all having great weekends. : )

Friday, March 17, 2006

Around the Horn






Hi Everybody!!!

Just want to let you know that everything is going great here at Make Me a Commentator. Mr. McIckleson requested the week off, so I am pitching in.

. . . You are a Tree has
thoughts on the Dubai Ports going to Halliburton.

Archy has
a story about the finding of Noah's Arc and how that might not be actually happening in exactly the way some people are claiming it is happening.

CorrenteWire has
a piece on how the Republicans enjoy cheating, even when they are winning. ; )

ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES has
a review of the rationale behind South Dakota not allowing abortion in the case of rape or incest. Very bad thinking in my mind.

Musing's musings has
some passionate reactions to President Bush's plan to fight terrorism, and how little it has changed.

Science and Politics has
a story on an Atheist and his belief in the Selfishness Gene.

The guy at Rooks Rant has
been offered a job - so that's really good news for him!

SoonerThought has
a piece on what words people think of when they think of President Bush.

Finally Scrutiny Hooligans has
a post on St. Patrick's Day and our Immigrant Heritage.

Hope you all have great weekends - hopefully we'll be back Monday with another full week of exciting commentary.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Hi all!






Hi All : )

Two quick notes. The new Carnivel of the Liberals is up, and is in Haiku format. We are going to do better about following this feature in the future.

Secondly here's a very funny list of chinese menue items translated into english. I really like the sound of a cowboy leg. ; )

Rock and Roll is Dead

According to Conservative commentator R. Emmett Tyrell, that is. Cause nothing says hip like saying that rock and roll is gone. Unless you can also say that it's been replaced by Conservative Talk Radio. Yep - kids today ain't listening to rock, they are listening to Rush.

We are so screwed.

Oh wait, it's possible that Mr. Tyrell is full of crap. Let's look at what he says about rock and roll.
Through the years the peace of the grave has crept up on a lot of rockers, usually years before they arrived at the average life expectancy of almost any type of adult human being, including sky divers and inebriated jaywalkers. Given how preachy the average rocker became by the late 1960s, this is ironic. In their warbles they lectured ordinary Americans on what to eat, what to wear, even prayer. They lectured us on the value of the great outdoors and of world peace. An astonishingly high percentage of them then found themselves under arrest for random violence or ingesting substances that were decidedly unhealthy. So rock and roll, rest in peace. Besides, rock and roll has not come up with a worthwhile song in at least a decade.
It is nice to see Tyrell laughing about the deaths of John Lennon and Janis Joplin (among others). Shows the traditional Conservative charity.

At any rate, the contention that Rock and Roll is dead is nonsensical on the face of it. There is still plenty of good rock being made, and the problems Tyrell has with rock and roll are found in plenty of music beyond strict rock and roll (in all honesty I'm not sure how narrowly he intended to define rock and roll). There's hip hop that is just as preachy as any thing rock produced.

Next week I look forward to an article by Tyrell about how kids should stay off of his lawn.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Last Temptation of Commenting

Actually it's not the last - it's a pretty common temptation. Take this paragraph by Conservative Columnist Tony Blankley.
The more seasoned, team-playing Democrats want to use the old Chinese water torture on the president -- dragging out the agony for months and months. Or, as they call it in Washington, the issue "would spark a worthwhile debate."

It is odd that the same senators who believe in water torture for the president of the United States vigorously oppose similar water-related interrogation techniques when used on captured enemy terrorists. But then I suppose the president is not covered by what Michael Savage calls the Democratic Party's "Terrorist Bill of Rights
Yeah the Democrats are against actual torture, but are ok with metaphorical torture. I'm not sure you can see the difference, but let's look at a description of the water related torture techniques being used.
The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt. According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in.
So you see that's a little different than President Bush having impolite questions asked of him occasionally.

I also like the mention of the Terrorist's Bill of Rights, and therein lies the Temptation. Because that's bullshit and everybody knows it. I suspect even Mr. Blankley and Mr. Savage know it. It's not a matter of protecting the rights of terrorists - it's a matter of protecting the rights of innocents. There's no way to strip out the guilty with surety, so you protect everybody's rights. But that's not nearly as fun as arguing that Democrats are on the Terrorists side.

Here's the comeback - Republicans Racism blinds them to the fact that they may be torturing innocents. They are perfectly fine with seeing poor Iraqis going through hell, because they don't see the Iraqi people as human beings. I mean who cares from a Republican Point of view - they are all brown skinned people.

Here's another comeback - Republican Bigotry against Islam justifies any torment we can inflict on these infidels. Islam has declared war on Christianity, so we must respond in kind.

Here's another comeback - Republicans don't give a shit about anything except supporting the President and slamming into Liberals. The Democrats have declared their opposition to torture, so torture must be ok, at least in their mind. This kind of knee-jerk partisanship explains Republicans.

None of these is exactly true. Rather they contain elements of truth, but carry it a bit farther than the evidence warrants. If I were a Conservative, I suppose that would be good enough - particularly since each of these comebacks hurts my political enemies.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I think America is Nearly Over

This is a quote from Jack Abramoff. "It is not our job to seek peaceful coexistence with the left. Our job is to remove them from power permanently."

It's from 1983, but it's not exactly a rare sentiment from the Republican Party.

Their spokesmen from Limbaugh to Coulter have echoed this sentiment, as has their leadership. A perfect America is one without liberals in it (or at least not participating in the government).

Incidentally many Conservatives are uncomfortable discussion Coulter or Limbaugh, preferring to believe that their ramblings have nothing to do with them. I'll also say I can't think of any Liberal who talks so openly and so regularly about eliminating Conservatives.

As referenced earlier - both parties now have their own media sources that will confirm that the entire other side is a bunch of liars. How can you have a rational discussion on Iraq when one side sees a country torn apart by civil war and the other side sees a happy country on the verge of Democracy. I mean what kind of rational discourse can you have when the two sides are that far apart?

The solution may be for one side to win, definitively. For one side to be removed from power on a permanent basis. I don't know how enthusiastic I am about this solution, but forced to choose, I know what side I would pick.

Even if liberals won and eliminated conservatives, the act of doing so would end America. It would put the lie to the notion that a nation "conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal" can "long endure."

For what is liberty if one cannot choose to think one's own thoughts? What is the proposition that all men are created equal if Liberals and Conservatives are not equal?

Schrödinger's Politics

The Truth about Abu Ghraib is that :
1. Muslim Terrorists who tried to murder and blow up American Troops and Iraqi Civilians were subjected to some well-deserved harsh treatment by a few bad apples before whiny liberals stopped it.

2. Largely innocent Iraqi Civilians, rounded up by American Troops ignorant of the language and culture of Iraq, were subject to torture and torment by American troops, acting according to policies inspired if not directed by the Bush Administration.
The truth about John Kerry is that :
1. John Kerry is a treasonous coward, who fled combat in Vietnam, spit on his fellow soldiers, and never provided any sort of program to improve America in his whole Campaign.

2. John Kerry is a decorated war hero for his service in Vietnam, who fought to get his fellow soldiers out of that meat grinder and who put forward a complete agenda during the last election cycle.
The Truth about the 2000 Election is :
1. Al Gore clearly lost the election, and his continued battle just shows how unsuited he was for the presidency.

2. By every reasonable scenario, Gore won the election, and at least he had the courage to fight to get all the votes counted.
The Truth about Iraqs weapons of Mass Destruction is :
1. Saddam Hussein was clearly working towards acquiring them, and was also a monster who was tormenting his own people.

2. Saddam Hussein was not even close to having weapons that could harm the United States of America, and yet we invaded anyway.
The Truth about American politics in the 21st century is :
1. You can believe whatever you want to believe, and you'll find plenty of people to agree with you. There's no fundamental truths, only partisan truths that you select to bolster your position. There is no end to partisan bickering until one side or the other is rendered irrelevant.

2. Politics is messy and confusing, and pits good people against good people and bad people against bad people. But the truth will win out in the end, because most people on both sides of the fence genuinely want to see a better tomorrow.

Is Democracy Good?

Kent: With our utter annihilation imminent, our federal government has snapped into action. We go live now via satellite to the floor of the United States congress.
Speaker: Then it is unanimous, we are going to approve the bill to evacuate the town of Springfield in the great state of --
Congressman: Wait a minute, I want to tack on a rider to that bill: $30 million of taxpayer money to support the perverted arts.
Speaker: All in favor of the amended Springfield-slash-pervert bill?
[everyone boos]
Speaker: Bill defeated. [bangs gavel]
Kent: I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply doesn't work.
Bill Murchinson's latest article is about this compelling issue - is Democracy good? Well he looks at what the Democrats are doing and comes to the surprising conclusion that it's a mixed blessing. I mean when you have crazy democrats and liberals trying to hold President Bush accountable for his warrantless wiretapping program or his failure to handle Hurricane Katrina, well you have to ask yourself what is the point to Democracy.

The point to government is to enact laws that will better America, and make it stronger and safer. But Democrats only want to make it worse and weaken it. The weakness of Democracy is that it allows people who have different ideas than you to participate in the process.

Now if you think you might be wrong on occasion, than having other people around might be beneficial. But when you have a program as clear cut as the Conservative Program, well that's a little different. Then it is sheer folly to allow liberals to participate. It's like knowing that 2+2=4, but being tolerant of people who think it might be 5.

This is why many conservatives have mixed feelings about Democracy. They like it when it gives the right answer, but worry about it's tendency to produce the wrong answer.

If only there were some sort of governmental system that you could be sure would always produce the right answer . . .

Monday, March 13, 2006

Monday Mail Bag



Hey all.

I thought I'd mention I was almost an extra on Angel (it used to be on TV, involved a vampire with a soul). I was going to be hanging out in a demon kareoke bar. It was a non-speaking part, but I think I would have turned some heads by standing up suddenly and crushing David Boreanaz in my mighty pincers.

But such was not to be. At the last moment. I partied too hearty. When I woke up it was 2005 and I was in dumpster in Tallahassee. And the show had been off the air for a year I guess. So here's to missed opportunities.

Our first response comes to us via
Pen Elayne on the Web, relating to a "Did You Know?" post on Frog Legs.
I'm afraid the Iron Chefs would beg to differ on that one. :)
Don't get me started on those Iron Chefs. Every remembers the episode me and Senor Salmon teamed up with them in an attempt to give good old Captain Starfaller food poisoning (Episode 1D12, "To Eat or Not to Eat")? Believer it or not, off camera, they tried to lure me into their table so they could make Lobster Crepes. Now I love good food as much as anybody, but not when it's me! Anyway I saw through their little ruse, but still the whole episode creeped me out.

Our second comes from amy of
blogAmy fame, responding to a piece on the contention that liberals have annoying voices.
my voice is only nasal when I have a sinus infection.

leave it to prat like Pret to stereotype like most other conservatives i know...oh wait, was that stereotyping? oh well, who cares right? as long as we all get to kick sand in each other's faces.

by the way, what's the status on our freedoms, the war, NOLA, etc? oh, who cares, lets talk about the real pressing issues like how annoying someone's voice is. he's such a useless waste of bandwith.
For those of you curious about what my voice sounds like, find a guy with the deepest voice you know. Then take a nylon stocking and fill it full of discarded crawdad shells (not shrimp). Then you take the stocking and jam it . . . Cheery says I'm not allowed to finish this description as our fans might find it disgusting.

Yeah, she's probably right.

Anyway I don't think liberals have voices that are any more annoying than conservatives.

Finally we have a comment from Oroku Saki, responding to
a post on John McCain's chances in 2008.
Oh, I think his running for President is almost guaranteed. Whether he wins the GOP nomintation or not is another story. He clearly has not gotten over his loss during the 2000 primary, and he's burned a few bridges as a result of his "I shoulda won" attitude.

I don't like McCain, not because he tends toward the center, but because he does so not out of convinction, but out of a desire for media attention. In short, McCain is a media whore. Every bill or issue he supports is something he knows the white, black, and all other kinds of trash in this country will support because it sounds good. Forget that McCain-Feingold greatly restricted certain fundamental freedoms. McCain would use the Constitution as toilet paper if it got him 15 minutes on a Sunday program.

McCain is almost as bad as Mr. "Active Liberty".
Thank Mr. Oroku Saki. Actually I'm pretty sure that if McCain used the Constitution as toilet paper, it would get him a lot more than 15 minutes on a Sunday program. But to each their own.

Turning to the mail bag, Bryant already took the most interesting letter. Kind of glad he did though. So let's take a look at this letter from Jim Horton of India?
This transaction is absolutely risk free with no legal complications as we have made arrangements to secure all the legal documents that will free us from any litigation, I have made all necessary arrangements with the security company, that as soon as I get your confirmation of interest in this venture, we shall put in all the necessary paper which will authorize the security company to process the funds and get it transferred through their offshore bank, to your account. In doing this you must have to maintain a high degree of trust and adequate confidentiality is required and on successful completion of this transfer to your account, I have agreed that you will retain 30% of the total sum while 70% will be for me. Finally I want you to note that we are going to spend money where Necessary to make this venture work out successfully.
A few questions.

You have secured all the documents to free us from any possible litigation, and your next step was to send a mass e-mail to some 70 people at least. How did you arrive at this plan of action, assuming you really have documents that will keep us free of any litigation.

How much trust is required to be a "high degree?"

And finally, when you say "we are going to spend money" you mostly mean me, right?

And that's it for another week. Or you know, another couple of weeks. Depending. Talk to you later, spacesters. And, remember, "I will crush David Bor. . . I mean Captain Starfaller between my mighty pincers."

Monday Mail Bag (a Prologue)

Space Lobster will be along shortly to do his thing, but I couldn't let him have this particular e-mail recieved 11:53 AM, Monday March 13, 2006. The coward, er, person writing it didn't leave their name, but they did leave their e-mail which I will not reprint.
Good lord articulate idiots have an outlet for fact free and senseless babble, brilliant!

I almost lost it, completely, over a comment to the effect that Bill Clinton, impeached, disbarred, philanderer, accused rapist and traitor to our nation waged a more successful war on terror. Wow, the kook effect has taken hold completely has it?

I don't know about you, but having a knowledge and comprehension of history, I'm stunned by the blatant ignorance so abundant in the loony left mental cess pools, known as blogs.

The facts show that every military debacle our republic has been forced to suffer has been when a member of the party of treason holds the oval office and sets as C in C.

. . . September 11, 2001 the absolute Clinton legacy, its time for the treason trials to begin.

John Kerry the last candidate for president offered by the party of treason, has only the commission of treason as a verifiable achievement in his life and lets not forget his claim of committing war crimes and that is the best the party of wimps and cowards could offer? Yes it is and that is why we need treason trials and some gallows time for the party of treason, atheism and sodomy.
I will clarify that what I said was that Clinton waged a more effective war on terror than President Bush did for the first 9 months of his presidency. As for President Bush's performance since 9/11, well, conditions changed so drastically it didn't seem fair to compare the two.

I will also thank you for noticing how articulate I am.

And finally allow me to note that yes, the kook factor has indeed taken hold. But probably not in the way you mean.

A Conservative Humorist Speaks Out on Hatred

Some clichés hang on because they’re true. Some others, however, hang on just because nobody has bothered blowing the cobwebs off them. A specific one I have in mind insists that hatred is a bad thing -- that it’s actually worse for a person to hate than to be hated. I beg to differ.

Frankly, I think there’s a lot to be said for hatred. For one thing, it’s a very honest emotion. And unlike, say, love, it’s usually hard-earned and completely deserved.

. . . Hate has gotten a bad rap, I think you’ll now agree, and I just hate when that happens.
Yeah I think Burt Prelutsky is trying to be funny, but in all humor there's an element of truth.

And the truth is that given Conservativism's commitment to hatred (mostly of liberals), well, they need to start making a case for it's value sooner or later.

Perfection Vs. The Good

David Limbaugh's latest article is an attempt to make a virtue out of President Bush's failures in the War on Terror. As you might expect it's largely built around distorting Liberals position as well as history. Take this crowd pleasing claim.
President Bush inherited the War on Terror. He didn't have the choice of inaction, like President Clinton before him.
President Clinton, as anybody with a passing knowledge of history and lacking the blinders of partisanship knows, fought the war on terror far more vigorously than President Bush did for his first 9 months in office. In fact, President Clinton's vigor in pursuing terrorism convinced President Bush to put terrorism on the back burner (for the first 9 months of his presidency). I mean anything President Clinton cared so much about had to be pointless, right?

But telling the truth about this history wouldn't serve the over arching mythology of Conservativism, so they leave it out.

Anyway after glossing over President Bush's failure to anticipate September 11, 2001, he moves on to his main task, putting a pleasing task over the pre-war intelligence failures in the run up to Iraq.
If not American society as a whole, the Democrats for sure demand clairvoyance from this president. They say that because we didn't find WMD stockpiles in Iraq, he lied in saying they were there. But since when has lying been defined as affirming something as true you believed at the time was true, but later discovered might not have been? Democrats have also condemned Bush for failing to anticipate, with certainty, all the consequences of removing Saddam, including the intramural sectarian strife -- which has been exaggerated by the antiwar media.
I do want to take a moment to clarify something. When I referenced pre-war intelligence failures, you might have assumed I meant that our intelligence services failed to provide President Bush enough information to make sound decisions in the run up to the Iraq war. Actually, it's clear from the record that they did. Bush and his cronies were warned that the case for Weapons of Mass Destruction was not nearly as strong as they claimed it to be. They were warned about the possibility of massive resistance and sectarian violence. They ignored both warnings because they had already decided on the policy. Warnings were irrelevant in the face of their determination to invade Iraq.

So it wasn't a failure of information - it was a failure of intelligence. And claiming now that nobody could have known, well, there are assuredly people eager to believe that. But those interested in the truth will probably know better.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

New Logo, New Quote!



Hey all. : )

Hope your weekends are going better than mine - at any rate, updated the logo and the quote. Talk to you all later.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Did You Know?

Oroku Saki first appeared on Democratic Underground. He was there for three days, and posted 13 times. His final post was as follows.
The time has come...

to say goodbye to this cesspool!!!

There is no room for debate here. You all just love to go, "Yeah, me too!" It's pathetic, and it leaves no room for moderates.

Continue to masturbate over the rantings of such dimwits as Justice Breyer and Molly Ivins. You won't take back the Senate that way.

Love ya and peace,

Oroku Saki
He or she apparently suffers from deep feelings of antangonism towards Justice Breyer. I feel his or her pain (I suffer from deep antagonism towards Herman Munster).

He's also posted at this very website (for example in response to this post).

Bonus fun fact - The Letters Oroku Saki can be rearranged to form this cryptic phrase "OAR IS OK, UK?"

Friday, March 10, 2006

Did You Know?






Hi everybody! : )

We have just created a "Did You Know?"
page to go along with our classic Quotes Page. This will collect the various "Did You Know?" posts under one heading, for those who find them amusing. Personally I don't get most of them, but some of them are funny.

Also we are adding
farm runoff to the Liberal Coalition blogroll as we should have done long sense. Have a great weekend all! : )

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Did You Know?

Frogs Legs are neither Legs, nor do they come from a Frog. They are actually an edible version of the Cauliflower.

Conservatives Go to the Oscars

Conservative commentators love the Oscars because, for one week, their articles more or less write themselves. Basically they remind middle America how much they hate effeminate overpaid movie stars (particularly if said movie stars happen to be liberal). Take this bit from Jonah Goldberg's article on this year's Oscars.
Many of Hollywood's glitterati have staffers for every human need. Some of the biggest stars have personal aroma therapists. Mariah Carey employs someone whose only job is to hand her towels. Kim Basinger has a personal umbrella-holder charged with protecting her from the sun's aging rays. Sean Penn once made a staffer swim the icy and dangerous currents of the East River simply to get him a cigarette.
If a wealthy executive demanded the same kinds of privileges from their staff, well, Mr. Goldberg would be the first to laud our capitalist system and suggest such criticisms smacks of socialism. To note that some executives make six figure salaries, reap huge benefits, and have the goldest of parachutes while running their companies poorly, laying off workers, and so on, well, that's just not kosher. A mature understanding of capitalism leads one to the understanding that such an executive deserves such compensation because of what he or she brings to the table.

On the other hand when an actor stands in front of a camera for four or five months and collects the same salary, capitalism has apparently broken down.

The thing is I can point to an actor and explain why he gets paid that much. If George Clooney stars in a movie, well he's an accomplished actor with a certain amount of "star-power." A movie he is in will make this much domestically, this much in the foreign markets, and this much in the DVD format. So his cut seems somewhat realistic. And the reason a movie makes that much money is that we all are willing to plop down our money to go see him.

On the other hand a rich executive - well one of the lessons of the nineties is that the connection between the salary of the executive and the success of the company is a tenuous one at best.

But, I am neglecting the salient point, aren't I? Wealthy cinematic thespians tend to be liberal. Wealthy executives tend to be conservative. And that makes all the difference. Apparently.

Blogging Against Sexism

Yesterday was International Woman's Day, which I was somewhat aware of but ended up not writing on. I just read part of a post by Pen-Elayne on the Web that makes me think maybe I should.

The Truth is I don't really know what to say about this beyond "Sexism is Bad." My experience in the working field has been that I have consistently had female supervisors, and I can't think of too many instances of workplace sexism. And most of those stories are me standing by and listening quietly while someone explained that the restaurant / library / book shop would be better off if a man were in charge.

I did note that such people generally did so out of the earshot of said female supervisors / bosses / department heads. Better part of valor I suppose.

I have noticed that certain types of behavior are attributed to sex, regardless of the plainly obvious fact that both men and women engage in said behavior. Office gossip, for example. Men engage in that - but when a woman does it, it means something different.

Or too put it another way, as a white male, when I screw up, my mistakes are my own. A woman who screws up (or a person of color for that matter) has at least a percentage of that screw up attributed to her gender (or race).

Which kind of goes back to the idea that I'm allowed to be an individual, with my own faults and flaws (and successes); a woman is always an individual with a certain percentage of "woman" mixed in.

Yeah, I've pretty much restated what Simone de Beauvoir said back in the 1950s. We are nothing if not timely here at Make Me a Commentator!!!
Man is defined as a human being and a woman as a female - whenever she behaves as a human being she is said to imitate the male.
Anyway, to sum up, Sexism is a bad thing, and you should not engage in sexism. Also Simone de Beauvoir is very interesting.

My Contract with America

I pledge to you this day to fix the problems caused by me. I will vigorously stamp out any foolish posts or boneheaded grammatical errors that I have the tendency to make. I'm not going to let myself get away with this kind of foolishness any longer. Rather I'm going to knuckle down and see that I turn out better, more productive posts. This is my pledge to you, my readers, that I will really ride herd over myself until this website lives up to it's potential.

This was inspired by an article by Tim Chapman about a new Contract with America, proposed by some members of congress. Apparently the budget deficit is enormous, presumably the fault of those liberals. Except wait, the last time we had a Democratic President, weren't we doing a lot better in regards to fiscal prudence? And haven't Republicans been in charge for most of the last 6 years? If they were so concerned about this problem, why haven't they done something about it?

Perhaps what Chapman and these congress people are trying to do is draw a distinction between Conservatism and the policies of the last few years. If so, I don't wish them any luck.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Scientology

Rolling Stone just did a big article on Scientology, which is somewhat of an easy target I think.

My favorite line in the article came in the middle when they were talking about Scientologies big desert complex, Gold. Kim Fries, who works for their audio visual department, had this to say about being a scientologist.
The Sea Org has often been portrayed as isolated, almost monastic; members are rarely allowed to see films, watch TV or read mainstream magazines. "Are we devoted? Yes. Sequestered? No," says Fries, who married a fellow Sea Org member. "I go out into the world, I talk to people out in the world, I definitely live a very full life. This isn't a priesthood. I mean, if it were a priesthood, do you think I'd work here?It would just be so unhip.
Interesting perspective.

Rush Limbaugh Speaks

Even when I'm wrong, I think I'm right, er, whatever.
This was on the Rush Limbaugh show at the end of the first hour (just before 1:00 PM) on March 8, 2006.

This is a great quote, but honesty forces me to admit that what he was trying to say was "Even when I think I'm wrong, I'm right." And he seemed to immediately grasp his error (hence the "er whatever"). He was trying to remember which Justice (Alito or Roberts) somebody had pledged to fight, and thought it was Roberts but then moved to Alito, and it actually was Roberts.

Still great quote.

Did You Know?

There's nothing scarier than a blank sheet of paper you are expected to fill (or a blank post box in our modern age).

Except Spiders. And Dick Cheney.

Message to Republicans Redux

Last week, Mark Joseph wrote an article of advice for Democrats in '08, and I helpfully provided my own advice to Republicans. Well, this week, Mr. Joseph has his own advice for the Republicans.

Most of it is pretty banal. Republicans should hope we put up Hillary Clinton, Gore might be tougher than they think, they should mellow on Abortion just a little bit, and so on. Two bits stand out, however.
Get out from under the Iraq war. Distance your party from it and from President Bush's policies that got the country there. Have your candidates announce that instead of "stay and die" or "cut and run," you will "cut and arm"- i.e. return to the Reagan Doctrine of finding sympathetic forces to arm and support, but rarely if ever invading nations en masse. Arm the Iraqis, leave some military advisors behind to train them and get out of Dodge as quickly as possible.
I don't know that this is a viable option. For one thing, running away from Iraq is running away from President Bush. That might be a smart idea; but will he allow it? And will the party faithful get behind it? For 6 years, the Republicans have been painting President Bush as their hero, and the war in Iraq as a noble and holy mission. Cut and arm? Let's just say that I know how Republicans would react if Kerry, Gore or Hillary Clinton were to propose that.

The other interesting section is under the bit where Joseph suggests they get a black person on the ticket.
Get a well qualified African-American on your ticket. Americans are ready for a bold move on race and you'll likely have two freshly minted Senators to choose from. Condi will make the base stay home on election day, but Blackwell and Steele look good.
It's possible I missed something, but why will Condi make the base stay home? I can think of some obvious reasons, but I thought the Republican base was generally in favor of her (in a "hey look Democ-Rats, we aren't racist after all" kind of a way).

Anyway we'll have to see what happens over the next couple of years. I suspect predictions and prescriptions at this point are going to have very little relevance 24 months from now.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

McCain in '08

Is this a real possibility? Well, Cal Thomas seems to think so, and he's not too down on the idea.
McCain has sometimes publicly disagreed with President Bush on certain issues, but about the president's handling of the war on terror since 9/11, McCain offers generous praise: "The war on terror is what re-elected President Bush. We were able to frame the debate in that (2004) campaign ... that President Bush was by far the most qualified guy. By the way, I believe that to this day with my heart and soul."

What may attract Republicans who believe President Bush is not a true conservative is McCain's willingness to oppose the president on more spending and bigger government, along with McCain's language on the consequences of illegal immigration. During our interview, McCain tells me: "The director of the FBI has stated 'there are more people from countries of interest coming across our border.' So there is no doubt the threat (from infiltration of radical Muslims) has increased. That's why immigration reform - of which border enforcement is a part - must be a prime issue."
It would be interesting for McCain to position himself (or be positioned) as a true conservative (as opposed to good old President Bush). For 6 years we've heard el Rushbo castigating McCain again and again for being a moderate Conservative, a Republican in Name Only and so on and so forth. Do they really think their base can turn on a dime?

Of course, this is just Cal Thomas, and it sounds like he is on board with Thomas's main issues (boarder security and blowing the hell out of Muslims). I'm sure the majority of Republican pundits have yet to make up their mind.

Shorter Dennis Prager

Here is the academy speech that someone should have given. USA is great, soldiers are great and we should make more movies about them, and we actors and actresses are big phonies and are generally useless even though everybody knows our name.

That's the gist of Dennis Prager's latest article.

As for the contention that Hollywood should make movies about soldiers fighting in Iraq right now, I can kind of see why they wouldn't want to. People on your side of the fence, including you, would demand that such movies be made a certain ways. And if they included even the slightest critique of how America is acting in Iraq, well, you would boycott and attack them. On the other hand, as you point out, they aren't keen on the Iraq war. Like most sensible people, they note that it hasn't gone so well.

So given a choice between sinking a lot of money into a movie that might be this contentious and, say, Mission Impossible 3, well, I can see why they'd go a certain way.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

New Logo, New Quote!!!



Hi all! : )

Hope you are having a great weekend. We really need to update our quotes page and may do that later, but for now we've updated the quote and the logo.

Have fun!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Did You Know?

West Side Story is actually a reworking of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet as a musical. Similarly, Grease is a reworking of Julius Caesar.

It's easier to tell with West Side Story.

Friday, March 03, 2006



Good morning. This is Irwin J. McIckleson, fictional 1910's plutocrat. This has been a very odd morning. I fear that my involvement in this blog may be rending the very fabric of time and space. This morning a young negro came to my door and asked if I liked "Hip Hop." I had to explain that I had a hip, but because of it's weakness I rarely had occasion to hop. That seemed to satisfy him.

Very strange experience.

Anyway on to our review.

First out of the gate is Bark Bark Woof Woof who has
won an award for his serialized story. Congratulations.

Happy Furry Puppy Story Time has
the news that President Bush's mistakes may have a negative effect on his popularity among the American people. That stands to reason. He provides many links to stories along these lines.

Iddybud has
a piece on the incurious nature of President Bush. Apparently he is just not that interested in the world around him, which is kind of a shame when you think of it.

rubber hose has
further comments along these lines. President Bush's approach to the Hurricane Katrina of last year does not show a man engaged in the problem. I know that when my corporations have faced challenges the most demanding and most knowledge seeking person in the room had better be me. Anything less and my men lose heart. And here we have a president sitting there blankly, asking no questions? President Bush must be a very weak man.

LEFT is RIGHT has a
rather shocking admission by a Republican representative on their review of the recent ports deal.

Along the same lines, Speedkill has
an interesting defense against charges of accepting bribes. Let me just say that anybody who thinks "It's only Money" clearly isn't going to be a plutocrat anytime soon.

Pen-Elayne on the Web has
a story of having to put up with a chain letter. I guess in the future you have developed ways to make the chain letter even more annoying and invasive. Progress marches on, but not always in the right direction.

I will say that whenever I receive a chain letter - I carefully cut the letter into six equally sized pieces, and return it to it's envelope. I then place oregano, thyme, and ginger within the envelope and dip it in Balsamic vinegar. Finally I burn it. In that way the curse of the chain letter is confused and I am not troubled by it.

I'm not sure how that would work with an electronic letter.

The Countess has
a discussion of the abortion of Female Babies in India, where women are apparently less valued. I find that very disturbing. Woman are just as exploitable as men and in some ways more so.

THE FULCRUM has
some thoughts on a recent Congressional Capitulation to President Bush. It strikes me as odd timing - President Bush is weak right now.

Words on a Page has
a discussion of the necessity of oil to modern society. Apparently the invasion of Iraq was in order to secure possession of this material so as to preserve society. While I approve of the acquisition of more natural resources, perhaps you future people should consider developing ways of dealing with a lack of oil.

And that is it for another week. I suggest that you have enjoyable and productive weekends.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Message to Republicans - Get in the Game

This is inspired by Mark Joseph's article at Townhall, "Memo To Democrats - Get in the Game." Apparently Mr. Joseph has sized up Democratic Presidential chances in 2008 and he feels like we need some advice. One piece of advice is that old Conservative standby "Hey, if you Dems want to win elections, adopt our policies." He also recommends hoping that the Republicans nominated John McCain.

In that spirit, I have some advice for Republicans in 2008.

1. Remember that President George W. Bush has served nobly and well, and do everything in your power to tie your new candidate into his legacy of great and lasting success. Iraq, the Economy, it's all good.

2. Hold your convention in New Orleans if possible. This will remind America of President Bush's strong and principled reaction to that national disaster.

3. You should run Dick Cheney. Not only does he have warmth and charisma to burn, he's also tied into the successes of the Bush Administration.

4. Have wealthy guys talk about how great the economy is doing constantly. Have them say things like "I used to not be able to spell corporate jet, now I have three of them."

5. Have Arnold Schwarzenegger talk at length about all he's done for California.

6. Spend a lot of time on boarder / port security.

Maybe my readers have some other helpful suggestions for how the Republicans can whip us in 2008?

This is Humor!

Burt Pretlusky, a humorist (according to Townhall), has written an article on one of the big problems with liberalism. According to him, we have annoying voices.
For years, I've hated listening to the infantile blathering of America's leftists.

. . . However, not too long ago, I had an epiphany. It's not just that the liberals are annoying because of what they say, but because of the way they say it. Have you listened to Al Gore lately? He's as loud as a pneumatic drill. And you would think that after his meltdown following the Iowa primary, Howard Dean would tone it down a notch. Instead, he's revved up the noise level until he sounds like a chimpanzee on speed.
Articles like these make me wonder how long it will be before my conservative acquaintances push me down and take my lunch money.

This sort of prose is only funny if you accept that Liberals are intrinsically hateful and worth laughing at. Fortunately for Mr. Pretlusky, there are plenty of conservatives who find liberals hateful and worth laughing at.

Incidentally, for those of you who want to get even more annoyed with Mr. Pretlusky, you should check out what he says about Liberal Women (particularly Hillary Clinton and, that old standby, Jane Fonda.

My voice, incidentally, is kind of nasal and annoying. But I know plenty of liberals who have very pleasant voices.

The World Is A Vampire!

You need to check out this post at Liberty Street, about a Judge who is requiring a rape victim to watch a video tape of her experience.

It's a lousy world we live in.

America is a Center-Right Country

If you say something enough times it starts to seem plausible. For example, I just read Monique E. Stewart's review of Martha Zoller's "Indivisible." One of the books theses is that "America is a center-right country - historically, ideologically, and practically." I could tell this was important because Ms. Stewart referenced it 5 times in a 15 paragraph review. And the fifth time, it sort of crystallized in my mind. We are a center right nation.

She also says that people without health insurance basically don't deserve it. If they wanted Health Insurance they would buy it, but instead they buy TVs and Mink Coats. But she only spent a pair of paragraphs on it, so I am able to shrug that off.

What does Center-Right mean anyway? What scale is she using? What criteria? Ms. Stewart referenced Ms. Zollers comments on Health Care, Immigration, and Abortion as issues where the majority agree with conservatives. But how does she know? Perhaps the secret is held in this sentence, early on in the review. "Using mostly anecdotal evidence, Zoller explores the founding principles of our country and concludes that, after a hiatus marked by such events as the sexual revolution, Americans are turning back to their conservative roots."

In other words, this seems like the book you should believe in because it's telling you what you want to hear (if you are a conservatoid).

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Dr. Shapiro and Mr. Shapiro

There's an interesting article today by Ben Shapiro. Unusually I don't have much to make fun of in it; frankly he's spot on in his analysis (although wrong in his prescription). His article uses a life boat metaphor - if a war (or any policy really) is going south in a hurry, what do you do? Particularly if a guy from your party is driving the boat? Well, you can either stick with the captain (President Bush) or run to the lifeboats.
That's where the conservative movement currently stands. In the midst of a war on terror, three years into the rebuilding effort in Iraq, many conservatives are edging toward the lifeboats. And with President Bush's United Arab Emirates port fiasco dominating the headlines, it's easier than ever for those conservatives to position themselves to the right of Bush on national security -- and as close as possible to the exits.
Simple, straightforward, and largely correct. I predict that for the next couple of years conservatives will try to explain how Bush's policies weren't really conservative (which is a fair point, since they weren't). Of course I also predict they will continue trying to focus America's attention on how much they hate liberals, so it's not like I am going to join their side.

I think the article is more interesting in that it does represent the other side of young Ben. I think Ben is torn between models - does he want to be William Saffire or Rush Limbaugh? George Will or Ann Coulter? Does he want to be a calm reasoned conservative political commentator? Or does he want to be a fire breathing demagogue? Tough choice. I suspect, based on history, that hatred of Liberals will win out in the end. And, frankly, that route suits his limited talents a bit more.

Life's Little Amusements

It is always amusing to see Republicans caught in the political crossfire. Republicans don't believe in noble enemies or loyal opposition, so when they engage in rhetorical combat, they pretty much always bring out the big guns.

But when one group of Conservatoids (like, say, those in favor of the Dubai Ports Deal) is opposed to another group of Conservatoids (like, say, those opposed to the Dubai Ports Deal), well, poor Conservatoids have to put up with the same sorts of shots we liberals take all the time. Particularly if they can put liberals in the other box (as noted above, shooting at liberals always leads to a bigger rhetorical cannon).

So it is with amusement that I note that Tony Blankely feels a bit wounded by his friends today.
In the last few days, several free market and other conservative commentators -- along with various U.S. governmental spokesmen -- have taken to labeling those of us with reservations concerning the Dubai Ports World (DPW) deal as nativist, racist or Islamophobic. With 70 percent of the public in opposition to the port deal, this is as searing a criticism of American tolerance as ever has been hurled from America's cultural or political opponents over the years. No Soviet propagandist or third-world revolutionary has more stingingly libeled the American people.
Poor Mr. Blankley. It is hard to be hit with that kind of invective. Damn it, only Liberals are supposed to be attacked, not Conservatoids! I really feel for you.

But maybe this will be a good experience for you - I mean we liberals have been accused of everything. Traitors. Anti American. Seditionists. Child Molesters. So maybe this little shock of being accused of Racism will toughen you up a little. God knows you Conservatives could use that a little. If ever there was a group of people for whom the phrase "They can dish it out, but they can't take it" applied, it's you guys.